The founder of recently-shuttered (and much-missed) bar Night & Day and design studio The Press Room (she’s also Singapore Architect magazine’s editor-in-chief), tells Crystal Lee about letting go of her pet project.

Night & Day started as a fun project. I was really very sad and quite stressed about its closure.

I didn’t have a lot of money for renovation, the graffiti “living” wall idea became integral to build character for the bar at minimal cost. It was amazing to see it grow—there was happiness, sadness, madness, boredom—every kind of emotion etched on it.

I got into architecture by chance. During my time, there were no publishing, media, design or degrees offered at local universities, so it’s either you do a diploma course or go abroad. The closest “artistic” course I could find here was architecture, and that was it.

Architecture gave me a really good foundation in design and I picked up the know-how for Adobe applications on my own in the school’s well equipped computer lab.

I exaggerated a bit for a laugh in the introduction text of myself when I started The Press Room. But I really did quit smoking to the disbelief of many after years of being a horrible chain smoker.

In 2001, I fell very sick and had a major operation, I was in a lot of pain and I took quite long to fully recover from post-operation. I have a 40-stitch scar on my body to remind me of the extreme pain that I have lived through and that had made me quite fearless of anything after that.

I am a self-confessed compulsive hoarder. I keep everything.  

I can never resist buying books, CDs and DVDs. I know—nobody collects CDs and DVDs anymore when everything is digitized, but I’m old-fashioned that way.

One of my biggest indulgences is collecting affordable art, especially the works of young artists, probably because I’m a failed artist and I hope to be able to support them.

Besides Andy Warhol, whose work is responsible for making me a pop culture junkie, there are so many people I admire and are influenced by, like John Hedjuk’s Mask of Medusa, Daniel Libeskind, book designers Chip Kidd and Irma Boom, and filmmakers Wong Kar Wai, Quentin Tarantrino and Pedro Almodovar. I am inspired by so many different things and the list is endless.

As a kid, I was quite lonely because I often got bullied by my siblings. Growing up, close friends eventually became the siblings I never had.

My dad pampers me and spoils me. He gives me everything I want and I never had to worry about anything growing up. He supported my life decisions in quiet ways, even though going down the creative line was considered a vocation, not a profession back in the day.

The best part about being a boss is I can come to work late. I always have problems waking up in the morning. It’s also nice to go see a movie on one random weekday afternoon and I can have the whole cinema to myself!

My ultimate dream is to be able to help the less fortunate through what I’m good at: design. I haven’t figured out a way to contribute to a society in a bigger way yet, but until then, I offer pro-bono services to non-profit and charity organizations.

Lately, I see a lot of men wearing tight red pants or jeans. I find that quite hard to stomach.

Hello? Kitty?! Why??!!